Dirty Work

The past four days have been pretty intense. I started demo on the Voris house and it was no small feat. From chain link fences to damp and musty carpet, poorly put up walls to leftover remains from tenants past – it was a cleansing this house has needed for years, if not decades.

I’ve learned that there are no surprises when it comes to these things. It is all one big shock to the system and you just have to take it all in stride. It can be frustrating to downright sad at times. You wonder who in their right mind would live in this? Who, on the other hand would continue to just take the cheapest, easiest route possible out on every fix?

You get mad at the past owners and the past occupants. There isn’t just one finger to point because it is a two-way street. It continues to be a problem until somebody else comes along and tries to change the trajectory of the future.

One aspect my project Go Urban, Young Man is to highlight the current state that things are in. It’s not just a continuation of hiding what’s there and sweeping it under the rug. Seriously, major parts of Peoria are disgraceful. The buildings, the streets, the people – you look around and you feel as if you are in a different world or something. No one in their right minds would bother with them. Why should they? It’s somebody elses problem, right?

When large sections of a city are deemed no longer salvageable by everyday people I tend to want to look a little further into it. Why is it that an area that offers such a deep history, a range of housing options, close proximity to major employers downtown, access to the most prominent natural asset in the region, and all at a fraction of the cost not the hottest spot in town?

The Yellow Dot Marks The Spot
The Yellow Dot Marks The Spot

To me, it became apparent that it’s not what isn’t there – it’s what is there presently that is keeping people away. My assessment has been that this area isn’t lacking one major project, but a lot of little ones that come together over time to actually mend what has come undone. And so, in order to hopefully do my part in changing the future of this house, this neighborhood, and maybe encourage others to do the same, here are some highlights of what I’ve been up too…






I hate chain link fences. Period. It’s not just that they are unappealing aesthetically, it’s everything they stand for. So I tear them out every chance I get. I even got the neighbor to agree that it was time for his side to go. So I tore that out too.




3056  3058


2734 2736 2742

3105 3106 3116 3110

2975 2976 Front Closet 2 3086 3103 3115



KitchenDemo 3229





basement 2



It was a long weekend, but a productive one. Any time you can fill a dumpster to the top something happened.

The next steps of my project are the most important. What goes back into the house and who provides it is a big part of the community development aspect that otherwise lacks when someone is just out to flip a house and maximize profits.

To see how you, or your company can contribute to my project GO URBAN follow this link: http://igg.me/at/GOURBAN/x/2435869


3 thoughts on “Dirty Work

  1. Assuming others join you in rehabbing houses in this part of town, what should be done about possible lead paint or asbestos? And on a related note, when do you know a property is a better case for demolition than rehabbing?

    1. Since most of these homes in this area and virtually the entire core of Peoria were built before 1950 – most homes will have lead based paint. Moving a little further out of the city, homes built before 1978 also fall into this category.

      Unless we plan to do nothing forever and only build new further and further away we might have to face the reality of the situation which impacts at least 3/4 of our housing stock. At which point one may contact a professional who deals first hand with these issues on a daily basis – vs. trying to DIY and risk it.

      For more information there is this wonderful read provided by HUD: http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/training/LBPguide.pdf

      Demo vs. Rehab is all relative to what people will live in. There are plenty of homes that are occupied that you or I might not deem fit for habitation, but to someone else it is just right… Those best suited for demolition are ones deeply damaged by water, fire, have severe foundation issues and/or cannot be reasonably renovated while passing today’s code.

      At some point today’s market resale value will dictate whether or not it will appraise at a value for a mortgage that determines if one investing in it profits/breaks-even/loses money.

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